Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The courage to question

A great book one of my coaches Ros Tasker gave me to read is called ‘The Four Agreements’ by Don Miquel Ruiz. My favourite idea from the book is the thinking problems we create when we assume.



You might assume…


  • That by my body language I am unhappy with you
  • That because of a past experience I may not want to work with you
  • That because we live in different countries there is no way we can work together
  • That because I have not bought from you in the past, I am not ever interested for the future
  • That because I have said no in the past, you should never ask again

Now all this may be true…but it also may be created in my own head. Assume is of course making an ASS out of U and ME. I always try to let other people tell me what they are thinking which is tough because it’s much easier to assume I know what you need or are thinking than it is to actually find out.


Why may we not ask the questions we need to truly understand?


We think…


  • What if I am right and my assumption of how you are feeling or thinking is accurate?
  • What if I don’t like the confrontation that ensues?
  • What if I find out something worse than what I was thinking?

And on it goes…


Here are some questions you can use to reduce assumptions…


  • What I heard you say was (insert understanding). Is that what you meant?
  • I am feeling or getting this from you. Is that accurate?
  • What do you mean?
  • What, if anything, do you need from me now?
  • Do you have any expectations from (this meeting, this day, this party)?

Be prepared for some push back though as people are required to be less accidental in their behaviours and more conscious. I have found some people would rather stay confused and offend by accident than be clear about what they want and get it.


To think straight, ask more questions and eliminate the assumptions in your life.

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